House debates

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Matters of Public Importance

Turnbull Government

3:17 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

All right. I withdraw. Misleading the parliament just once is an offence that demands a resignation. But old Senator Cash, not content to mislead the parliament, misled it five times—five times! If she won't resign, the Prime Minister must sack her. He must put the national interest and the integrity of the parliament ahead of his own political interest.

But the problem is that this born-to-rule Prime Minister thinks that he is above the rules. This is the problem, the infection which infects the whole of the government. They think, these conservatives, that they're born to rule and that they're always right, no matter what the facts. The problem is: they are born to rule, but they're unfit to govern.

We know, we understand, that this isn't the minister's first offence; it was just her worst performance. Credit to Senator Cameron, Senator Watt and Senator Kitching, who pushed through a shameful and deliberate conservative filibuster to uncover the truth. Imagine if we had an employment minister who actually focused on the 700,000 Australians who are unemployed and the 1.1 million Australians who are underemployed, someone who cared about the fact that she presides over the lowest wage growth since records were kept or the 700,000-plus workers who are having their penalty rates cut? Imagine if we heard speeches from the government about workplace safety or industrial diseases or labour hire exploitation? Instead, this minister appointed a law-breaker to head up the ABCC and is now asking Australians to pay another $400,000 to pay his legal bills.

But it wasn't just Senator Cash who humiliated herself last night. They say that you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. In its first public outing, the Registered Organisations Commission has shown its true colours: nakedly political, grossly incompetent, shamefully partisan and hopelessly compromised. It must be amazing to Australians when they hear that the government can whistle up 13 police to chase up documents 10 years old within a day, based on an unknown caller. Imagine how many Australians are frustrated to hear that.

An honourable member interjecting


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